By Victoria Green
“To engage your audience emotionally, you must let your brand’s personality show” – Aarron Walter, Director of UX at MailChimp.
Tone of voice is powerful. The correct tone of voice offers a personification of a brand’s spirit, values and culture in just a few words. It’s not just about what you say, but about the way you say it.
Your brand’s voice should permeate through every part of your business and have a consistent message that customers can follow. Here’s why tone of voice is incredibly important for your brand and your business.
Recommended reading: How Luxury Brands Use Visual Communication
A recognizable brand voice helps you stand out from the crowd
At first glance at any given niche, most products and services are pretty similar to each other.
When there is a sea of other options, a well-developed and trustworthy brand voice makes you memorable, and will increase the likelihood of you collecting valuable social proof and customer recommendations.
Take MailChimp, for example: they offer a service that on the surface is very functional but have injected so much personality into their brand tone of voice that they have transformed what could just be another email marketing platform into the email marketing platform.
A distinctive brand voice coupled with a strong brand identity will set you apart from the competition, making attracting and keeping customers much easier.
It makes your business human (or animal)
People like to talk to people, and giving your brand a personality will turn it into something that your customers can communicate and bond with. A great trick for figuring out the personality of your brand is to literally think of it as a physical human – is it male or female? Young or old? What would they look like? What makes them tick?
Once you’ve figured out who your brand is, it will be much easier to settle on the tone of voice they would have. And it’s important to settle, as an inconsistent tone of voice can do your brand some serious harm.
However, your brand tone of voice doesn’t just have to only appeal to humans. BarkBox, a subscription box service providing dog toys and treats, speaks to the dogs in a way that’s kooky and endearing — putting loyal dog owners into the right frame of mind to buy something for their pet pooch.
It comes down to understanding your niche on an intimate level and being able to speak to people in a way that makes them rally around your brand. You want people to feel recognized and heard.
It fosters a feeling of openness
A strong tone of voice offers your customers a way of relating directly to your brand or business, opening a two-way of channel of communication. No one can relate to bland corporate speak, but they can understand a story that’s told in plain English.
Foster a sense of transparency and openness, allowing your customers to feel that they will be listened to when they speak. If customers feel that they have a voice, they will talk to you, and that doesn’t just translate to complaints – they will give feedback, offer suggestions, and be willing to become a brand advocate.
An honest and approachable tone of voice inspires affection and loyalty, and builds emotional connections. Research has shown that customers who feel emotionally connected with a retailer are four times as likely to shop with them, so it’s something that your brand can’t afford to ignore.
It builds authority
If someone speaks to you with an authoritative tone, you’re much more likely to believe what they say, and trust that they are correct. To build authority your tone of voice needs to be consistent, as a tone that is wishy-washy, unsure, or keeps changing all the time will quickly undermine the confidence that your customers have in your brand.
Injecting plenty of personality into your tone of voice shows that your brand has confidence in what it is saying, and therefore genuine value.
However, tone of voice isn’t the only way to build brand authority; you can also do so through a strong and consistent theme throughout your company brand in your advertising, marketing, and website.
From a visual perspective, you want a consistent brand that upholds the values set out by your tone of voice. Learn how to customize a WordPress website to suit your brand, or opt for a build it yourself store on Shopify that allows you to select from a ton of relevant themes. Spend time creating an online visual presence that’s both striking and memorable, and don’t neglect visuals just because you’re getting into the words!
It makes you more shareable
In the social media age, being shareable is key to creating a successful brand. Personality-driven messages are much more likely to be shared than boring or neutral ones, and brands with a lively and engaging tone of voice are absolutely killing it on social media. A share is a seal of approval.
Communicating with customers via social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter can do wonders for brand loyalty.
However, it’s crucial to maintain that consistent tone of voice, whether you’re responding to customer complaints, live tweeting an event, or simply sharing something you think your followers will like. Research has found that millennials spend an average of 5.4 hours a day on social media, so it’s crucial not to let your tone of voice get wobbly in front of this huge target audience. Social media fails will be screenshotted and remembered.
Tone of voice matters because it shapes the way your customers relate to your brand. Once you have figured out what you want to say, you need to refine your message, and then seed it consistently. An inconsistent tone leads to a confusing brand presence. Create and maintain a trustworthy, authoritative, and reliable tone of voice, and your customers will return to your brand again and again.
Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, delves deep into all the things that comprise a great brand. She is passionate about helping businesses develop their brand and deepen the connection they have with their customers.
Visit Victoria at VictoriaEcommerce.com